In the past, the automobile industry focused primarily on how to innovate vehicles themselves, but the biggest changes we’re seeing today have to do with how cars are sold and bought. Customer experience technology is rapidly evolving the way the auto industry markets cars and the way customers shop for them. From virtual test drives, to being able to purchase a car online without ever stepping foot in a showroom, continue reading to see the 3 ways CX technology is significantly shaping the automobile industry.
Social media marketing is crucial
Social media has changed the way consumers discover, evaluate, and buy products—including cars. According to Digital Air Strike’s Sixth Annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study, 77% of car buyers clicked on a Facebook ad and 40% of car buyers use Facebook to read dealership reviews. These buyers are actively seeking out information while researching their future purchase, so dealerships or manufacturers that aren’t using social media marketing are at a disadvantage.
Additionally, social media platforms are making it easier for the automobile industry to reach their target audiences. For example, earlier this year, Facebook added dynamic ads for lead generation, thereby enabling auto dealers to promote their vehicles alongside lead-generation forms. If an individual is interested in a specific vehicle model, they can complete the form. The completed form is then sent directly to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, where a sales representative can access that information in order to follow up with the individual.
The purchase process is now online
Believe it or not, there are many consumers interested in purchasing a car completely online—and startups like CarMax, Carvana, and Joyride are just a few names leading the digital auto sales industry. These companies are changing the car buying process by enabling consumers to purchase new or pre-owned vehicles, get assistance with financing, and have the car delivered to their home, all from the comfort of their couch.
For example, Joydrive is a fast-growing startup that has partnered with many dealerships to create a 100% ecommerce solution. Joydrive makes it simple for users to shop for vehicles by dealership location, manufacturer, model, and price. Each individual car listing provides the specs, along with the dealer’s name, contact information, and customer reviews of that dealer. Once a user has found the car they want, they pay a $500 refundable deposit and then speak with the dealer directly online. If they’re looking for a financing plan, Joydrive can connect them to its network of lenders. Within a day, Joydrive trained personnel will deliver the car at the customer’s house. If the delivery is within 100 miles, it’s free, otherwise the delivery fee is noted upfront on the vehicle’s listing page. Once the car is delivered, the customer can return it within 5 days and no more than 250 miles and get their $500 deposit back.
Review and test drive cars with virtual reality
While nothing beats the experience of actually sitting in and test driving a new car, virtual reality (VR) might be able to still whet buyers’ appetites. Today’s automotive companies are working to incorporate more and more VR capabilities into their buying experience. Cadillac is encouraging its dealerships to offer virtual showrooms, so consumers can check out the features of a vehicle without a salesperson. Some dealerships’ websites are even equipped with VR test-drive videos, which allow users to get a 360-degree look at the vehicle’s interior and demonstrations of safety features like automatic emergency braking.
There will always be consumers who prefer to review and test a car in person, but with new advances in technology, we can now purchase a car without stepping foot in a showroom.